A legal show down is looming between a gay Jamaican man Javed Jaghai and several of the island's church groups, over the constitutionality of the sodomy law in Jamaica.
Lawyers representing a group of Christians - Christians United for Truth and Justice, filed an application before the Supreme Court on Friday seeking to join in the action filed by gay rights activist, Javed.
Another group comprising Christian attorneys - Lawyers Christian Fellowship, recently filed an application to join in the proceeding.
The Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, has also filed an application to join, as various interest groups are strongly opposed to moves to strike down the law - jostle to enter the matter.
Jaghai filed his claim on February 7, in which he contends that the section of the Offences Against the Person Act which deals with buggery, is unconstitutional as it criminalises sexual relations between adult males.
He maintains that under the constitution he has the right to privacy which entitles him to express his sexual identity.
However, in its application, Christians United said the law is constitutional and should not be struck down
The other opposing parties also argued that the anti-sodomy law is valid and constitutional and should remain in place.
The competing parties will get a chance to make their case as to why they should be heard in the matter, when the court sits on June 25.
Gay rights groups locally and in the United States are keeping a close watch on the case as it is the first time that the constitutionality of the anti-sodomy law is being challenged in Jamaica.
Jaghai says that he decided to challenge the constitutionality of the law after he was kicked out of his house because of his sexual orientation.
The hearing on June 25 was expected to be purely procedural: to settle such matters as the trial date and what forms of evidence would be admitted. However, the religious group Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) has since applied to be joined as interested parties in the claim, on the ground that, inter alia, decriminalization of sodomy would adversely affect the freedom of religion of Jamaican Christians who would no longer be able condemn homosexuality as a sin.
The full reasons the JCHS provides for opposing the decriminalization of sodomy are listed below:
1) Homosexual activities would be facilitated and encouraged;
2) It will not be long before marriages between two persons of the same sex will be facilitated, encouraged and adopted;
3) The public promotion of the homosexual lifestyle will be permitted;
4) The right to freedom of expression, to freedom of thought, conscience, and belief will be adversely affected;
5) The right to seek, receive distribute or disseminate information, opinions, and ideas through any media will be adversely affected;
6) The right to equality before the law will be adversely affected;
7) The right to enjoy a healthy environment will be adversely affected;
8) The right to respect for and protection of private and family life, and privacy of the home, will be adversely affected;
9) The protection of privacy of communication will be adversely affected;
10) The right to manifest and propagate religion in worship, teaching, practice, and observance will be adversely affected;
11) The right to freedom from discrimination on the ground of religion will be adversely affected.
Javed's team fully intend to resist the application of the JCHS to be joined to this suit, as we find their arguments spurious and a waste of the court’s time. We also feel that the Attorney General’s Chambers can and should be able to adequately represent their interest. After all, the Solicitor General, who heads the AG’s Chambers, is a high-ranking member of the Lawyers Christian Fellowship, one of the groups that founded the JCHS.
It is also clear that the JCHS does not represent the views of many Christians when it comes to the issue of decriminalization of sodomy. They certainly don’t represent the views of the island’s most established churches: the Anglican and Roman Catholic.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Howard Gregory, Anglican bishop of Jamaica. (Photo courtesy of the Jamaica Gleaner)
Appearing on the popular Jamaican radio programme “Beyond the Headlines” on April 26, 2013, the Anglican Lord Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the. Rt. Rev. Dr. Howard Gregory, stated that the country’s 1864 British colonially imposed anti-buggery law should be repealed.
This statement is in line with one made by the spiritual head of the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby during the June 3 same-sex marriage debate in the UK House of Lords. While maintaining the church’s opposition to marriage equality, Archbishop Welby said:
“…It is also absolutely true that the church has often not served the LGBT communities in the way it should. I express my sadness and sorrow for that considerable failure. There have been notable exceptions, such as my predecessor, the late Archbishop Ramsey, who vigorously supported decriminalization in the 1960s. It is also necessary to express, as has been done already, total rejection of homophobic language, which is wrong and, more than that, sickening.”
see: JFLAG Position Statement on Upcoming Conscience Vote
Espeut, West says “Homophobia” was invented to abuse Christians as hate speech
‘Gays Made, Not Born’ – On the Confused State of the Religious Mind
Some religious right lies about the lgbt community…
Church Stands Resolute Against Buggery Backers says Al Miller ………… Love March Movement Lacks Moral Compass says LGBT voice
Rev Al Miller on the Abnormality of Homosexuality & the invented gay marriage rights ploy
Rev Al Miller says gay lobby is using the guise of tolerance to get the nation to accept the “gay lifestyle”
Rev Al Miller - the gay lobby is not asking for buggery decriminalization because of discrimination but to force homosexuality on the nation .......
'We Have The Numbers' - Anti-Homosexuality Church position to block buggery amendment
also see: Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS continued confusion of paedophilia & consenting homosexuality.
George Davis Live - Dr Wayne West & Carole Narcisse on JCHS' illogical fear